Local Search is very important in today’s world. I use to write “become very important” but that time has past. There is no sign that it is going away, but only increasing. When mobile applications for search came about, it was only a matter of time to try to find out what the regular laptop/desktop searches would do.
I’m a creature of habit. That’s not a good thing usually when you are in marketing. You tend to become comfortable to your own way of thinking patterns and stop branching out. It was to my shame when someone suggested what the “show options” link on the SERP page was. “The show what thing… what?” So I did a simple search for “kittens” (why not?) and despite the images that now populate the regular SERP, I was able to see the “show options” link in the upper left. If you click this, you will be treated to a side bar of the options that are on the homepage (images, videos, news, etc), but one thing that is different is the “social” and “nearby” links.
“Social” is … well, not getting me anything on several topics I’m searching for. I even searched for “American Idol” on “Social” and nothing came up. Oh well. I’m more interested in the “Local” option. This one brought “kittens” found on my local craigslist to my view. Awwww.
So here we have another way for local searches to be utilized by another demographic of people who search in a different way.
Hints from Google with the “Wonder Wheel”
As an added bonus on these new search options is the “Wonder Wheel.” This is a tool that takes your search term and adds possible other searches as suggestions. These tend to be populated from the Google Suggest , but still nice to see in a visual setting. I think this would be a valuable tool for other terms or subsets to optimize for. For instance, “kittens” yielded “kitten breeds, kitten names, kitten care, kitten adoption, kitten facts” and of course “kitten pictures.”
These would make excellent sub-pages to your kitten website.
This gives Google a whole new section of data on usability and refinement of SERP pages. Seeing how the results can be jumbled and laid out for users should pique your interest in how many ways your site could come up with all the options available. Images, Blogs, Documents … more avenues where your company or brand could be show up.